Bay Street residents object to pig pens next door

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While many new homeowners will be jubilant to receive keys to their Dredge Bay homes today, others who live on Bay Street in Villa are dreading the pigs which are being driven from pens behind the Dredge Bay homes and into their neighbourhood.
Sometime around last week Thursday, construction workers began hastily erecting new pens for the Dredge Bay pigs on a plot of land at the bottom of Bay Street where a mechanic shop has been operating.
The mechanic shop operator – a man called ‘Culture’ – insisted that the pens were being “professionally” and “cleanly” built. Upon speaking to neighbours though, OBSERVER media discovered that some did not know the swines were coming their way.
One visibly irate woman who knew nothing of the plan said, “Pigs stink. I do not want pigs living next to me! I have [a]  young child – my son – living here. Pigs are supposed to live in the country. Pigs bring flies. It will be like living next to Cooks Hill!”
She asked whether those responsible were “crazy”.

A man in his 70s said, “I wasn’t aware until a neighbour came to see me and told me…. I am not comfortable with it. You’re going to take it from over there because you’re building a palace? And you put it next to poor people? I think it’s wrong.”
OBSERVER media visited the site on Thursday and again yesterday afternoon. Up to 4 pm yesterday there were 10 to 15 men feverishly at work in order to complete the pens in time to move the pigs ahead of today’s grand handover of 48 newly built Dredge Bay houses.
According to the mechanic shop operator, the construction of the pens is being funded by St John’s City West Member of Parliament (MP) Gaston Browne. When called Browne declared, “Ask me about government business. Don’t ask me about my personal business.”
The shop operator said, “everyone appreciates what’s being done” as the pig farmers who house their animals on the land beside the affordable Dredge Bay houses cannot afford to pay to build a new structure even though the swineherds are no longer wanted in the area. There are at least three such farmers according to the operator.
On Thursday, a pig farmer spoke to OBSERVER media and explained that his pigs were once penned on the land on which the new houses now lie waiting to be occupied. He said he was asked to move to accommodate the housing project and therefore reconstructed his pens on a plot of land beside the project.
According to the famer, he was later asked where he wanted to move and the new spot at Bay Street was identified. He said, “I appreciate it. To raise pigs, it takes a lot out of you.”
However, while farmers are happy for the assistance and tradesmen are happy for the work, some residents of Bay Street are worried what a pigsty will mean for them. One elderly woman who did not know about the move said she didn’t want them next door and declared, “I don’t like encroachment” and “people’s values should be respected”.
A man who said he was visiting and did not live in the area said he was perplexed because he thought that state agencies would have considered the neighbourhood a “residential area” where pig farming would not be allowed next to people’s homes.
“Moving it out to an area zoned for farming may be inconvenient to who owns them because they live around here but at the same time you have to be sympathetic to other people who live here,” he said.
It is not clear whether the structure – built in less than a week – was approved by the Development Control Authority (DCA). OBSERVER media called the head of the DCA – Chief Town & Country Planner Frederick Southwell but he did not answer.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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